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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Luce, Washington bureau chief of the Financial Times, joins a lengthening parade of pundits—among them, Fareed Zakaria, Thomas L. Friedman, Tom Brokaw, and Bill Clinton—describing, in painfully graphic detail, America’s decline. Luce focuses on the seismic shift of money and talent from America’s technology sector to those of China, India, and beyond, a shift that has reverberated throughout the U.S. economy, particularly for the middle class. He attributes the change to, among other things, Republican demagoguery against federal funding of research, red tape in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a polarized and paralyzed electorate, and the influence of big money on national politics. Unlike his fellow pundits, Luce doesn’t offer much in the way of solutions in this fine analysis, except maybe in this quote from one American entrepreneur, “To overcome a problem, you must first recognize it exists.” --Alan Moores --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

This is as good a diagnosis of America's failings as you will get Sunday Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Library edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455895377
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455895373
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,068,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Jeff D. on April 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Edward Luce, who is British but has lived in the United States for many years, offers a critical perspective on the challenges that America faces. The book is wide ranging and touches on nearly all the major issues that will determine the country's future. The book is based in part on interviews with some very high profile people, including Bill Gates and Larry Summers.

The core of the book focuses on the decline of the American middle class. Wages for most people are stagnant or declining and economic insecurity has soared as more and more risk (retirement, health care, etc) is transferred from employers to individuals.

The book shows how advancing technology and globalization are hollowing out the middle class by destroying many of the best jobs. Jobs are being automated, offshored or contracted out to temp agencies. Even the CEO of the biggest temp agency Kelly Services, which benefits from this trend, is pessimistic about the future for most people, saying "I know well paid engineers at big companies whose only role is to think up ways to reduce headcount."

This ongoing trend toward leaner organizations and less jobs all around may be the biggest single challenge we face, and yet there are very few real solutions being offered.

"Time to Start Thinking" goes on to look at problems with education. Here it gives a balanced look at the Gates Foundation and the out-sized role in plays in this area. The book also questions whether charter schools are really a viable answer.

Next Luce goes on to look at our immigration policy, which borders on lunacy as we turn away the most highly capable and educated immigrants who have come to the U.S. for an education.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By D. Woollard on March 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover
If current trends and predictions are to be believed, the United States will soon no longer be the leader of the free world. Howe do we adapt to these changing times? Time To Start Thinking by Edward Luce, the chief U.S. columnist for London's Financial Times, takes an unflinching look at the current political climate and what steps could be taken to avert America's current date with a backseat destiny.

Luce tackles some of the front page issues such as the need to cut military spending, the shrinking middle class, the changing job market, and the growing healthcare crisis. He was also at one point, Lawrence Summers's speechwriter and had incredible access to interview a broad spectrum of executives, politicians ,military personnel in order to get a clearer picture of what is happening and what actions need to be taken. The colloquy of experts lends a deep gravitas to a book that covers fairly familiar hand-wringing ground.

Studies show that the immigrants are always bigger risk takers than the home born in any society. America has long been seen as the land of opportunity, attracting the best and the brightest from around the world. Those immigrants used to stay in the country but now many leave after getting an education or when their careers are taking off. As Luce sees it, the government plays a key role in making sure that innovators are able to thrive. The second half of the book delves deeply into the failures of our political process to provide clear leadership and direction.

Unlike many of the political candidates, Luce doesn't take issue with government's size, but instead with its adaptability and capacity to change.
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on April 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
America is on the skids and time is running out. The core of Edward Luce's 'Time to Start Thinking' is about the decline of America's middle class; other topics covered include public education (we're now ranked below #20 in international comparisons of math and science achievement), the need to overhaul our government, eliminate polarization of politics, the pursuit of empty-headed ideologies, and end our seemingly never-ending campaign season. Summarized into a single sentence, the U.S. is in relative economic decline, and our political system lacks a coherent response and is making things worse. Or, as former Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mullen put it, 'We're borrowing from China to build weapons to face down China - this can't continue.' A decade ago the U.S. accounted for almost one-third of the global economy - now it's less than a quarter and likely to fall to about one-sixth by 2020 when China becomes the world's leading economy.

All net job creation since 1990 has been in the non-tradeable sector and McKinsey predicts no growth in the tradeable sector through 2021; almost all of this was in services, with about half in health care and half in government (sectors with essentially no productivity growth). Many areas have suffered from massive job losses in manufacturing over the last generation. Gambling is one of its most frequent replacements, bringing low-wage jobs, pimps, and drugs as replacements. Economists earlier told us that service jobs were superior to those manufacturing jobs moving to Asia, but that's not bearing out. Too many of the new service jobs are dead-end and part-time w/o benefits, and/or in health care - a sector that cannot continue to grow.
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